The Federal Aviation Administration has granted SpaceX a license for the third test flight of its Starship Super Heavy vehicle. The launch is scheduled to take place as soon as Thursday morning, with a 110-minute launch window opening at 7AM CT / 8AM ET / 5AM PT on March 14th.

Both of the first two Starship launches ended explosively, causing significant damage and leading to corrective actions for SpaceX. The FAA provided a list of 63 corrective actions before the second attempt last spring to address issues such as leaking propellant. In response, SpaceX is aiming for a splashdown in the Indian Ocean instead of closer to Hawaii to prioritize public safety.

The upcoming third flight test aims to build on the lessons learned from previous flights and achieve several ambitious objectives. These include successful ascent burns of both stages, opening and closing Starship’s payload door, a propellant transfer demonstration during the upper stage’s coast phase, the first-ever re-light of a Raptor engine while in space, and a controlled reentry of Starship. Additionally, a new flight trajectory will be implemented, with Starship targeted to splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

By changing the flight path and aiming for a splashdown in the Indian Ocean, SpaceX is able to test new techniques like in-space engine burns while prioritizing public safety. This demonstrates SpaceX’s commitment to advancing technology and pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

The upcoming third test flight of SpaceX’s Starship Super Heavy vehicle represents a significant milestone in the company’s pursuit of space exploration. By addressing previous challenges, implementing corrective actions, and setting ambitious objectives, SpaceX is poised to continue pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation in the aerospace industry. With the FAA granting a license for the upcoming test flight, all eyes will be on SpaceX as they strive to achieve their mission goals and pave the way for future advancements in space exploration.


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